Brussels is preparing to retaliate against the US if Washington pushes ahead with far-reaching new sanctions on Russia that hit European companies. The White House indicated on Sunday that President Donald Trump would accept legislation that would punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election. This is despite Mr. Trump questioning assertions about Moscow’s involvement for months — and as Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort were scheduled to appear before Senate committees this week (FT, 7/24)
“The assessment is that the Bill responds primarily to the US domestic political situation and that its harmful consequences are probably unintentional yet serious,” says the note. (Brussels Briefing, 7/24)
Brussels is examining all options in its arsenal to do battle with its supposed ally, as the US inches closer to ripping up friendships and partnerships with its unilateral action on Russia. Anger has reverberated through the continent as the US looks poised to rubber stamp a deal on sanctions against their Cold War foe.
The EU and US look set to clash over the draft sanction laws, which target Russian energy, financial, railways, the shipping and mining sectors.
Republicans and Democrats thrashed out the deal over the weekend, and The House of Representatives will vote on the bill on Tuesday. (Juncker “set to retaliate in days,” Daily Express, 7/24)
Honeymoon over Emmanuel Macron’s approval rating has fallen 10 percentage points to 54 per cent, the second-biggest decline for a French president so soon after election. French voters were either confused by plans for the tax system, shocked by a dispute with the head of the army or unsettled by upcoming labour laws reform. (Bloomberg 7/24)
More than 60 Islamic leaders and imams — from France, Belgium, Britain, Tunisia, and of different Islamic faiths — in a move that may be unprecedented, are touring Europe to denounce Islamic terrorism and to pay homage to the victims of terror in Europe by visiting many of the sites of terror attacks.
The idea seems to have shaken extremists to the core. They have been sending these imams death threats.
It is therefore high time, as mankind faces a crucial turning point, that people will pull together and support any voices of peace such as those of the marching imams, and restrain any hands that would try to sabotage their noble mission. (“Hero Imams,” GT 7/24)
Whether we like to admit it or not, what happened in Paris on Friday could happen in any western city at any time. In fact, it certainly will.
For once, we’ve been spared statements from the Presidents of France and the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, to the effect that “Islam is a religion of peace.” It’s now too much to expect anybody to believe such an outrageous claim. Millions of people on social media witnessed Muslims around the globe celebrating the carnage in Paris. Noticeably absent after yesterday’s attacks was any condemnation from “moderate” Muslim clerics.
129 people were killed and 352 injured, 99 of them critically, meaning they could still die or will be maimed for life. Not all were French. This was Paris on a Friday night – a lot of tourists from different countries will be amongst the casualties. British Prime Minister David Cameron told fellow countrymen they could expect British victims.
One television news commentator observed “they are getting better at this,” listing a number of recent terrorist attacks perpetrated by ISIS — Libya, Tunisia, the Russian plane blown up over Sinai just two weeks ago, Beirut on Thursday and Paris on Friday. Not just better, more frequent, too. Mr. Cameron called a security meeting Saturday morning – London could easily be next. President Obama did the same in Washington, faced with the sobering realization that US cities could be the next target. The attacks on the French capital followed an assurance from the US president that ISIS has been contained.
The reality is that ISIS is spreading, its ability to stage terror attacks now reaching around the world. Big attacks and small ones, like the “lone wolf” who stabbed four students at a university in San Diego just a few days ago.
Western intelligence services are, understandably, overwhelmed. The French intelligence service did not see Friday’s attacks coming. Six attacks may be thwarted, maybe more, but eventually one will succeed. Little can be done if western countries are to continue to enjoy the freedoms that have been acquired over hundreds of years.
“Snowden has a lot of this blood on his hands”, said US Ambassador R. James Woolsey on Fox News Saturday. Ambassador Woolsey is a former Director of the CIA and is now Chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He was talking about the damage that Edward Snowden did to western intelligence when he went public with a massive amount of intelligence. This betrayal could be fatal to western interests at a time when the very survival of the West is at stake.
A friend in another state called me recently. At some point we got onto the subject of world affairs and Bible prophecy. He made the comment that “nothing seems to be happening in Europe at this time.” This comment was made before yesterday’s events. I expressed the opinion that a great deal was happening in Europe. The massive influx of refugees and asylum-seekers is radically changing the social fabric of European countries. Nations are losing their individual unique identity, as hundreds of thousands of Muslims from the Middle East and Africa pour in.
One of these, carrying a Syrian passport, was one of Friday’s attackers. Other attackers included some who were born and raised in France and went to Syria to train with ISIS, returning to their home country to stage acts of terror. Their loyalty to their Islamic beliefs trumped everything else.
Expect more of the same. After forty years of division between East and West, Europe’s brief interlude of peace accompanied by great strides toward “an ever closer union,” has now become the battleground between North and South, between the European Union and Islam, between democracies and failed states.
Not all the refugees who arrive in Europe are Muslims. The three biggest numbers of people come from Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan, all Muslim countries that are racked with internal sectarian divisions, corruption and despotism. Others come from democracies like Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone, seeking a better life and the welfare benefits European governments will give them.
It’s no wonder that David Cameron wants to end the system, but cannot do so within the strictures of the EU. A few days ago, he published the four demands he is making of the EU. If the EU can’t deliver, then he will recommend the United Kingdom leaves the 28-nation grouping. One of his demands is that the free movement of people within the EU be ended and that no new arrivals in Britain from the EU should be entitled to welfare benefits for the first four years. They would have to work first before they could receive anything. British papers are claiming that 43% of new European arrivals are receiving benefits. This amounts to 350 million pounds per week ($530 million), during a period of austerity imposed on the British people.
In addition, there’s the hundreds of thousands from outside the EU, from the Mideast and Africa. All these arrivals are supported financially by UK tax-payers. Inevitably, some will be agents of ISIS.
No western leaders show any sign of doing anything about this massive influx of potential terrorists.
After the January attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s President, marched arm in arm through Paris in defense of western freedoms. A few months later, Mrs. Merkel led European governments to open their doors to refugees and asylum seekers. Germany itself is taking in one million people this year.
This can only mean one thing – there will be more terrorist attacks like those yesterday.
As Daniel Pipes observed, each terrorist attack results in the common people moving to the Right politically, while the Establishment moves to the political Left. (“Why the Paris massacre will have limited impact.” Nationalreview online, November 14th). Mr. Pipes’ article also pointed out that the number of terrorist attacks by Islamists, since 9/11, is now 27, 269. The figure was compiled by an organization called “TheReligionofPeace.com.” Put another way, that’s five attacks per day.
It’s not surprising France’s President Hollande described Friday’s attacks as “an act of war” from ISIS.
All of this does not absolve the West of its responsibility. “In an official statement claiming responsibility, ISIS carefully listed its targets, couching its choice as one determined by its moral and theocratic superiority. Paris, it said, was a capital of “abominations and perversion.” (“Paris attacks: Bloody atrocity signals shift in ISIS strategy,” Financial Times, November 14th.) The Christian Holy Book, the Bible, says that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). In the same book, God warned the ancient Israelites that disobedience to God and His Laws would result in terror coming upon the nation (Deuteronomy 28:66): “and you shall be in terror day and night and shall be afraid of your life” (Darby Bible Translation). Western countries need to examine themselves in the light of these verses – changes can be made that would result in less hostility toward the West.
A Service of Remembrance was held in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral today, to commemorate 7/7, England’s 9/11. It came just eleven days after another terrorist attack in Tunisia claimed the lives of thirty British tourists.
Ten years ago exactly, 52 people were killed when four home grown Islamic terrorists blew up three subway trains and one bus. Dozens more suffered life-changing injuries.
At times, the service was deeply moving. In attendance were Prince Andrew, the Prime Minister David Cameron and his predecessor, Tony Blair, who was prime minister when the attacks took place, together with his wife, Cherie. Family members of the deceased filled the great church, built in the late seventeenth century following the Great Fire of London.
London is, arguably, the most multicultural city in the world. The deceased were drawn from different cultures and different religions. The perpetrators of the atrocities were all Muslims, born in England, and all from fairly affluent backgrounds. Their actions were not motivated by poverty or lack of opportunity.
The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, pointed out, that: “the majority of the victims were young, they came from all over the UK and all over the world. There were Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Humanists . . . London is an astonishing world in a city, but beyond the diversity… this was a terrible crime that robbed us of family and friends.”
He continued: “Our London is a laboratory for testing whether it will be possible for the cosmopolitan civilization, which is becoming a global reality, to hold together.”
“We are in the midst of a debate about identity, including what it means to be British. Some in the world are reacting to change by retreating into ever narrower definitions of their identity. At the same time, merely invoking the universal concepts of tolerance and respect, with which we probably all agree, does not generate one iota of the energy required to transform lives and to build a community. We cannot exorcise the Satanic by creating a spiritual vacuum.”
The Bishop’s comments were thought-provoking. Some might disagree with some of what he said.
He talked of our “cosmopolitan civilization, which is becoming a global reality,” when, in truth, it really isn’t. The suicide bombings that were being commemorated were the acts of second generation Muslims. The countries their families came from are not cosmopolitan. They do not allow westerners into their countries except on short-term contracts – they certainly cannot settle and become citizens no matter how long they stay. Britain and other western nations allow immigration from the Middle East and grant citizenship, thereby encouraging a cosmopolitan society, which clearly has its challenges, when young citizens, far from appreciating the country their parents moved to, instead try to kill as many of their fellow citizens as possible.
He also talked of the “universal concepts of tolerance and respect.” Sadly, these are not universal concepts. They are concepts that developed over time in Protestant countries, when the proliferation of different sects necessitated learning to live peaceably alongside each other. They are western concepts. They do not even extend to Eastern Europe, let alone to China, Russia or even Japan.
The bishop’s remarks highlight the great gulf that exists between the West and the Rest. Multiculturalism is largely one-sided, with people in the West having to bend over backwards to accommodate other cultures that have moved into their territory and are now demanding they get their own way. And, when they don’t, they will blow other people up to make a point.
It’s not surprising that a BBC straw poll taken on Saturday, found that 95% of British people say that multiculturalism is not working.
Further, today’s British papers quote the ex-head of British Counter-terror as suggesting that it’s time for the British government to provide charter flights to Syria, encouraging homegrown jihadists to fly out and join ISIS, after surrendering their passports. This is, finally, recognition that many Muslims in their midst will never show the tolerance and respect that living in Britain requires.
“Today has seen three major terrorist attacks all by jihadists and spread across three continents.
“In Kuwait the attack was sectarian – Sunni extremists from Islamic State targeting a Shia mosque. They are hoping to turn these two sects of Islam against each other. It follows similar mosque bombings by IS across Saudi Arabia. In France assailants went for a double target. The chemical factory was owned by a US company but also targeted was the French state and an individual businessman. IS is at war with France and has often called for opportunist attacks by its followers there. And in Tunisia western tourists have once again been hit for the second time this year. Here, too, though, the jihadists are hoping to hurt the country itself, trying to stop Tunisia from becoming a peaceful secular democracy. But why now? Is there any reason why all three attacks are taking place during this month of Ramadan? “ – Frank Gardiner, Security Correspondent, BBC
There followed a brief interview with Maajid Nawaz, Chairman of the Quilliam Foundation: “For ISIS, Ramadan is a month of war. They believe it to be the month of jihad.”
“I’m afraid we’re in for more days like this . . . Ramadan should be a time of calamity for the infidels. They include the Shia as well.” James Woolsey, Former Director of Central Intelligence.
Fill up with gas – the price of oil has been “surging overnight”!
That’s the likely international outcome of the latest development in the Middle East.
Early Thursday morning (late Wednesday in the US), a coalition of ten countries, led by Saudi Arabia, started bombing Shi’ite rebels in Yemen, aiming to restore the “legitimate” (Sunni) government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is in hiding somewhere.
The conflict widens the Shia-Sunni conflict, which is the root cause of the never-ending conflicts in Iraq and Syria. The latest war pits Saudi Arabia and Iran against each other.
Yemen is not a big oil producer. But it’s strategically located, controlling the 25-mile wide Gulf of Aden, through which a great deal of the world’s oil is shipped. The British controlled the Gulf from 1839 until 1967.
Illustrative of the volatility in the oil market is the fact that, less than 24 hours ago, hopes were high that a deal between Iran and the western coalition would lead to a glut of oil, driving the price down. The deal may still happen, but the benefits will likely be more than offset by the Yemeni conflict and the increasing Sunni-Shia struggle throughout the Middle East.
This is the basis for the ongoing battle over Tikrit in Iraq. Over a week ago, the Iraqi military was claiming victory over ISIS forces controlling the city. But ISIS, the most militant group within Sunni Islam, is holding its own against a combined force of Shi’ite Iraqi troops, Shia militias and Iranians, who are also Shi’ites.
Interestingly, the US supports the Saudi-led action to restore the President of Yemen, at the same time as supporting the Iraqi and Iranian action to defeat ISIS. It’s doubtful this difficult balancing act will last.
Another question is what it will take for western intervention in the region. An article on the widening conflict in the Middle East in the latest issue of Time Magazine ended with the following paragraph.
“It’s impossible to predict when and where the next extremist attack on a Western target may occur. But it seems all to likely that it would require a mass casualty terrorist strike in a Western country to build the public support needed for the sustained military effort that could actually eliminate these growing threats.” (The New Caliphates, TIME Magazine, Volume 185, Issue #11).
Certainly, such an attack cannot be far off. This could certainly fulfill the prophecy in Daniel 11:40, which states: “At the time of the end the King of the South shall attack him.” The King of the North then retaliates.
As this global crisis worsens and spreads, another recent development shows ISIS, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram “troops” training together in Mauretania, a Moslem country not directly affected by terrorism until now. With ISIS now operating in Tunisia and Libya and Boko Haram in alliance with ISIS, operating in Nigeria, Niger and Chad, the whole of West Africa is vulnerable.
At the same time, the Taliban, which operate in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, has pledged support to the new Caliphate.
The spreading Caliphate is well on its way to achieving its avowed goal of an Islamic State stretching from the Atlantic through the Middle East and on to Indonesia. The plan is a five year plan, which means conflicts are set to increase and spread.
Meanwhile, the “mass casualty terrorist strike” Time warned about, may already have happened. It has been disclosed that the pilot was locked out of the cockpit of the “Germanwings” flight that crashed into the Alps two days ago. When the pilot went to the bathroom, his co-pilot locked the door behind him and then immediately set the controls for a rapid descent and the final, fatal crash. The Marseille prosecutor has just declared that the “co-pilot was not known as a wanted terrorist.” The question remains as to why he would deliberately fly the plane into the mountains. Terrorism was quickly denied but terrorist websites constantly inspire “lone wolf” violent attacks as part of their cause.
Spain and Germany lost the most people in the crash. Spain is one of the countries that ISIS wants in its Caliphate, having been ruled by Muslims for over 700 years.
It’s too early to tell if this was a factor in the plane crash but a criminal investigation is now underway. It seems certain the loss of 150 lives was no accident.
"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened." — Sir Winston Churchill